Do you have two under two? How about one under one? Or, Three under four? Any way you put it some days we thrive and other days we are simply surviving.
When we had our first child, we began reading the Jesus Storybook Bible to her as an infant and into her toddler years, but I found that she wasn’t quite old enough to totally process scriptures, even in a kid-friendly format (cough, cough, I needed to lower my expectations of my 0-24-month-old). And, if we missed a day of reading our Bible that inevitable mom guild would sweep over me like a crashing wave. I quickly began to explore, “What does it look like to insert Jesus into her everyday life?” I needed ideas that were flexible, attainable and realistic. Here is where I landed:
- Nature Walks – Anyone else experience “the witching hour”? You know, the hour before dad gets home when kids go C-R-A-Z-Y? Insert Nature Walks here. It’s the perfect hour to go outside, look at sticks, bugs, leaves, and dirt and talk about God’s creation. I call them, “Nature Walks” because it seems to sound bigger, more exciting than “Let’s go outside and look at sticks.” I’ll talk it up with my littles and encourage them to run off and find something and bring it back to me (ie: I can sit and do nothing but watch them and talk to them about who created that nasty little bug). Nature Walks – get out and enjoy His creation.
- Toddler Worship – In the car, in the house, during playtime or rest time. Littles learn by repetition and music has tons of repetition. If you’re really feeling it, make up hand motions to go with the songs. Trust me, this will capture your littles attention and before you know it, they will be singing and dancing along to truth. Here are a few of our favorite toddler worship artists, you can search them on Spotify: Steve Green “Hide the Word” album, Promiseland “Jump for Joy” album, Wee Sing “Bible Songs” album and Ellie Holcomb “Sing: Creation Songs” album.
- Talk About It – Yes, this might sound obvious but inserting Jesus into everyday life means talking about Him! We talk about going to church, talk about reading our Bible, talk about Bible stories, we simply talk about it! These are little conversations throughout the day, for example, “Look at that bird! See the bird that God created? That bird is so beautiful. I’m glad God created that bird to fly high in the sky!” No major theology here, just simply connecting the cute bird to God’s creation. Here is another example, “It’s time to go to church, where we play with our friends and learn about Jesus.” Again, no major lessons being taught here besides the fact that we go to church to fellowship with other believers and learn about Jesus.
- Lead by Example – My husband is very disciplined about reading his Bible, and my daughter sees it. Before she was two years old she started walking around the house with his small Bible and babbling as if she was reading it. Precious, yes. Convicting for mama, even more so. Littles learn by example even at 12 months old! Read your Bible in front of them, let them hold it and turn the pages like you do. Worship in front of your littles, lift your hands, sing at the top of your lungs. The beauty of toddlers is they can’t tell if you have a good voice. They will simply see your passion and sincerity in what you’re doing and want to copy it.
The best news of all is that I’ve found incorporating Jesus into my littles daily lives has incorporated Him into mine as well. How sweet it is to have a toddler song lyric “God is so good, He created me” stuck in my head. An unexpected joy I’ve found in parenthood – remembering the same truth we hope to instill in our children is the same truth we need to instill in our own hearts.